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Want to do something productive in life: Shah Faesal | India News


SRINAGAR: Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal on Monday announced quitting politics and stepping down as president of J&K Peoples’ Movement (JKPM), the party he floated last year.
Faesal dropped “JKPM president” from his Twitter bio, which now reads — “Edward S Fellow @HKS Harvard University. Medico. Fulbright, Centrist.”
Shah Faesal, 2010 IAS topper, told TOI that “he had reconciled with the new political realities of Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 last year.”
Meanwhile, sources told TOI that Faesal is likely to join the civil services again in September. He had resigned on January 9, 2019 citing instances of “unabated killings” in Kashmir among other things.
“I want to move on and do something productive in life,” said Faesal, in an exclusive talk with TOI on Monday.
Faesal, quoting from Shakespeare’s play “The Winter’s Tale,” said: “What’s gone and what’s past help, should be past grief”, suggesting that he has reconciled with the new political realities of Kashmir.
On Monday, state executive committee of J&K Peoples’ Movement (JKPM) discussed the ongoing political developments in the state. Faesal asked the members to spare him the organizational responsibilities. Committee members decided to accept his request so that he could continue with his life and contribute in whichever way he chooses to.
It was unanimously decided to nominate vice-president of JKPM Feroze Peerzada as interim president of the party till formal elections could be held for the post, party sources said.
Former PDP minister Javed Mustafa Mir, who had quit PDP and joined JKPM also expressed his wish to resign from the party. Committee members accepted his resignation.
Though Faesal did not answer the question whether he is likely to join the civil services again, official sources suggested that his resignation can be rejected as per rules as it falls within the recall time-period of two years.
After resigning from civil services, Faesal began his political journey on February 4 last year with a public speech in his hometown Kupwara in north Kashmir. On March 16, 2019, he announced that he would be launching his own political party.
Faesal went to the US for studies under Fulbright fellowship programme in 2018 after he went on study leave. He then posted remarks on his Facebook account which prompted the personnel department at the Centre to issue show-cause notice to Faseal following which he resigned and returned to India in 2019.
On August 14 last year, Faesal – who was bound for Istanbul — was detained at the Delhi airport under the Public safety Act and shifted to Srinagar. He was later taken to a makeshift detention centre at the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar.
Faesal remained in the detention for close to a year till he was released in June this year.



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No objection to CBI probe; Bihar govt politicised case: Rhea Chakraborty | Hindi Movie News


NEW DELHI: Actor Rhea Chakraborty told the Supreme Court on Monday that it could order a CBI probe into Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide, but the the investigation by the central agency should be conducted under the jurisdiction of a Mumbai court rather under that of a court in Patna.

The actor, who had earlier written to home minister Amit Shah requesting a CBI probe into Rajput’s death, said the Bihar government illegally transferred to CBI the FIR registered in Patna on the basis of Rajput’s father K K Singh’s complaint. She said the case was handed over to the central agency on the eve of hearing scheduled in the SC on her petition seeking transfer of Bihar police’s FIR to Mumbai and was designed to render her plea infructuous.

While maintaining in her affidavit that she had “no objection if the SC refers the matter to CBI by its order”, she said the case had been heavily politicised by the Bihar government as the incident happened in the run-up to assembly elections. She said the FIR in Patna was purportedly registered because of interest shown by the Bihar CM.



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As questions arise over 3 killed in J&K encounter, Army orders probe | India News


NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: Over 20 days after three unknown “terrorists” were eliminated in an encounter in Shopian (J&K), family members of three labourers in Rajouri district have filed missing reports, stoking controversy on social media. After netizens urged the Army to ascertain the identity of the men killed on July 18, Army sources confirmed to TOI on Monday that the bodies would be exhumed for investigation and DNA testing.
Army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said they had taken cognisance of social media posts related to the encounter, adding the bodies of the three men who were killed by a unit of Rashtriya Rifles had not been identified. “They were buried as per established protocols. The Army is investigating the matter,” he said.
Trio last called on July 17: Kin
According to the families who filed the missing reports at Peeri police station under Rajouri Police, the trio had last called their kin on July 17. Lal Hussain, a relative of one of the missing men, said they had called to inform that they had reached Shopian and rented a room. Asked about the three-week delay in filing a report, Hussain said the families initially assumed they were not able to contact due to mobile connectivity issues. “We waited for their call for a long time,” he said.
The missing labourers include Imtiaz Ahmad (26) Ibrar Ahmed (18), and Ibrar Ahmed (21), all of them were residents of Dhar Sakri in Kotranka in Rajouri.
Iltija Mufti, who operates her mother and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti’s Twitter handle, tweeted: “Shocked to hear about reports of 3 missing labourers reportedly killed in a staged encounter at Shopian. Armed forces have a free hand to operate with impunity. Explains why bodies are allowed to decompose at unknown locations. Probes into recent encounters must be ordered (sic).”
A day after the encounter on July 19, Army’s sector commander Brigadier Ajay Katoch had cited “human intelligence from a unit source on the presence of 4-5 unidentified terrorists” in Amshipura village on the intervening night of July 17-18.



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Rs 42k crore stealth sub plan to finally kick off | India News


NEW DELHI: India is now finally getting set to issue the formal tender for the long-pending over Rs 42,000 crore project to make six new-generation stealth submarines domestically with foreign collaboration.
Defence ministry (MoD) sources on Monday said the tender or RFP (request for proposal) “should be issued by next month” to defence shipyard Mazagon Docks (MDL) and private ship-builder L&T for the submarine programme, called Project-75 India (P-75I).
It will be the first project to be launched under the strategic partnership (SP) policy promulgated by the NDA government in May 2017 to boost indigenous production under the overall “Make in India” platform. The submarine or other SP projects will not be impacted by the negative arms import list issued by MoD on Sunday, as was reported by TOI.
The two Indian shipyards or SPs will have to submit their technical and commercial bids in response to the RFP after they tie up with their preferred original equipment manufacturer (OEM) from the five short-listed by the MoD earlier.
The five OEMs are Rubin Design Bureau (Russia), Naval Group-DCNS (France), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Navantia (Spain) and Daewoo (South Korea).
The Navy, grappling with an ageing and fast-depleting underwater combat arm, hopes to induct the first new submarine seven years after the P-75I contract is finally inked by 2021-2022.
The force currently has only two new Scorpene and 13 old (all commissioned well over 20 years ago) diesel-electric conventional submarines, apart from two nuclear-powered submarines. Four more of the French-origin Scorpenes will be delivered by 2022 under the ongoing over Rs 23,000 crore Project-75 at MDL.
But China, which is expanding its naval presence in the Indian Ocean region, already has 50 diesel-electric and 10 nuclear submarines. Pakistan, which has five submarines, in turn will begin inducting eight new Chinese Yuan-class submarines, with air-independent propulsion (AIP) for great underwater endurance, from next year onwards.
India’s P-75I for six new submarines, with both land-attack cruise missiles and AIP, was first granted “acceptance of necessity (AoN)” way back in November 2007 but is yet to be finalised.
None of the major six to seven “Make in India” defence projects, collectively worth over Rs 3.5 lakh crore, in fact, have actually taken off in the last six to seven years, as was reported by TOI earlier.
The MoD says P-75I, which can be finalised by December 2021 at the earliest, will bring in key technologies to ensure the next submarine-building project (P-76) is completely indigenous in design and technology.
Under the approved plans, the Navy should get 18 conventional submarines as well as six nuclear-powered attack submarines (called SSNs) and four nuclear-powered submarines with long-range nuclear-tipped missiles (SSBNs) for effective deterrence against China and Pakistan, as earlier reported by TOI.



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1 in 4 migrants went home on foot during lockdown: Survey | India News


NEW DELHI: A comprehensive survey, covering 25,371 respondents in rural India, including households with 963 migrants who had returned during the lockdown, found that 22.5% or about one in four migrants interviewed said they undertook the journey on foot, while another 6.9% percent partly walked and used vehicular transport. About 2.6% said they cycled back to their villages.

While the survey does not share details of the distances travelled — relevant in terms of how far they were from native villages — their experience captures how economic distress, fear of Covid -19 and hunger led to people leaving cities in whatever mode of transport that was available. When asked if the local administration facilitated their return home, by giving money, train ticket, bus service or some other vehicle, some 409 responded in the affirmative and 554 said no. These were migrants who returned.
Of these migrants, 17.8% had returned to their villages by bus, 11.6% by train, 10.2% by car or jeep, 7.8% by truck and 1.5% by tractor. Once home, faced with hardships, many said they will return to cities after lockdown or when the epidemic subsided. One third (33%) said they would go back to cities and 16% weren’t sure.



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Eye on China, govt mulls duty hike on textiles, cameras, laptops


NEW DELHI: The government is considering increasing customs duty on close to 20 product segments including laptops, cameras, textiles and aluminum goods, while placing some steel items under import licensing, as part of its latest move to restrict imports from China.
The issue is now before the finance ministry, which had earlier spurned the proposal from the commerce and industry ministry, sources told TOI. A senior officer said that the revenue department is expected to move ahead by notifying some tariff hikes.
“It is not a China-specific duty action but an overall increase in customs duty, although the idea is to focus on products which are coming in large volumes from China,” another officer explained.
In recent weeks, the government has been wary of duty hikes as it has noticed diversion of imports from countries with which India has free trade agreements, especially Asean members such as Vietnam or Thailand. In fact, the perceived inaction by the revenue department has prompted the commerce department to impose curbs such import licensing of tyres and TV sets, which many in the government believe is turning the clock back by a few decades.
Some steel products are being considered for import restrictions by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, which is the licensing agency.
Apart from some of the import restrictions, the Narendra Modi administration has also banned 59 Chinese apps, while shifting foreign direct investment (FDI) from China-based entities to the approval route instead of the earlier system which only required companies to inform the Reserve Bank of India post-investment. Further, a registration system has been mandated for Chinese suppliers and contractors who wish to participate in government contracts.
Government officials said that the moves are meant to clearly signal India’s displeasure at the recent intrusion in Ladakh, which has also resulted in the death of 20 Army personnel. “Even if it means higher costs, we can’t be doing business with them,” an officer said.
Separately, the government is working on promoting domestic manufacturing by offering incentives to mobile manufacturers and pharma companies producing bulk drugs, with a few more sectors expected to be added in the coming weeks.
India has a massive trade deficit with China, which was estimated at $48.7 billion in 2019-20, the lowest in five years. The government has accused China of not responding to its requests to allow more exports from India, resulting in higher deficit.



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Faced similar taunts: P Chidambaram backs Kanimozhi on Hindi row | India News


CHENNAI: The Chennai airport episode involving DMK MP Kanimozhi and a CISF officer over the issue of “communicating in Hindi” on Sunday has given the stick to the Dravidian parties to beat the Centre with on the issue. If that is on expected lines, it has also managed to bring the north-south divide over Hindi to the fore.
“One can’t simply ignore this as an issue involving one CISF officer. It clearly indicates the seriousness with which the Centre’s machinery is working to impose Hindi,” MDMK general secretary Vaiko said. “This is also clearly seen in the thrust given to Hindi and Sanskrit in the Centre’s NEP. Tamil Nadu will go to any extent to prevent any autocratic attempt by the Centre to impose Hindi,” said Vaiko.
Stating that language is an emotional issue, Dravidar Kazhagam president K Veeramani urged all the MPs from Tamil Nadu to unite to bring in necessary change in the attitude of the Centre on this. “Tamil Nadu government too should not see this as an issue concerning any single party and write strongly to the Centre,” Veeramani said, while adding that integration is not for the soil, but for people.
Soon enough, others joined the fray, with Congress veteran P Chidambaram terming it as not unusual. “I have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens who insisted that I speak in Hindi,” he tweeted.
Former Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy wasn’t far behind. “I raise my voice against the insult meted to… Kanimozhi. Now, it is apt to debate how political leaders from the South were snatched off their opportunities by Hindi politics and discrimination,” he tweeted. DMK president and Kanimozhi’s half-brother M K Stalin also spoke out. “Is Hindi the benchmark for being an Indian. Is this India or ‘H’india,” he asked. Kanimozhi had twitted that a CISF official had asked her if “she was an Indian” after she asked the latter to speak in English or Tamil.



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Trump abruptly escorted from briefing after shooting near White House


WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a US Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon.
He returned minutes later, saying there was a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”
“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said the shots were fired by law enforcement, saying he believed the individual who was shot was armed. “It was the suspect who was shot,” Trump said.
Trump said he was escorted to the Oval Office by the agent. The White House was placed on lockdown following the incident.
The shooting took place near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine the suspect’s motive.
The suspect was transferred to a local hospital, but their condition was not immediately known.
Trump praised the work of Secret Service personnel for their work in keeping him safe. Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”



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Jadhav case: After Pak’s ‘offer’, India says share case files first | India News


NEW DELHI: India has shot off yet another note verbale to Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case asking Islamabad to address the real issues at hand, namely the need for Pakistan to share case documents with India and provide unimpeded and unconditional consular access to the Indian national.
This followed a formal communication from Pakistan late last week about the Islamabad high court order authorising India to hire a lawyer for Jadhav. Pakistan also invited to participate in the next court hearing on September 3.
The court order hasn’t really enthused India, as is obvious from the government’s latest diplomatic correspondence. India has conveyed to Pakistan that hiring a local lawyer will be of little significance if Islamabad doesn’t share supporting case documents like the FIR and also if it doesn’t allow Indian officials to engage Jadhav on his legal rights including the power of attorney.
India had tried to hire a lawyer on July 18 but it still couldn’t file a review petition because of, as the government had said earlier, Pakistan’s refusal to meet these conditions.
The negotiations for consular access have also just kept going round in circles. While Pakistan has again offered what it calls unimpeded and uninterrupted consular access to Jadhav, India remains wary because of what happened last time, on July 16, when 2 Indian officials went to see Jadhav after India accepted the offer. They registered a protest and walked out after they realised that not only were Pakistani officials present there but also that the meeting was being recorded.
According to Indian authorities, Pakistan didn’t keep its word after having promised India unconditional consular access. For India, not allowing unconditional access by preventing a meeting with Jadhav in private will seriously compromise ICJ’s order for an effective review and reconsideration of Jadhav’s death sentence by a Pakistan military court.
The ICJ had last year held Pakistan guilty of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying consular access to Jadhav. India continues to emphasise before Pakistan that the failure to allow consular access to Jadhav before his alleged confessions were recorded, and on the basis of which he was convicted, has to be remedied in the form of unconditional access.
India has also pointed out to Pakistan that the denial of consular access and other legal rights to Jadhav immediately after his arrest raises question marks about the ‘evidence’ examined by the Pakistan military against him.



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Only UGC can cancel exams, SC told


NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission told the SC on Monday that final year students enrolled in universities of Delhi and Maharashtra that have decided to cancel examinations due to the pandemic may face an uncertain future if the regulator refuses to recognise the degrees awarded to them without an examination.

The commission had asked all colleges and universities under it to complete final examinations by September 30. UGC told the SC through solicitor general Tushar Mehta that under the Constitution, UGC was the sole body authorised to take a decision on examinations and questioned the states’ authority to cancel final year exams. “If states decide not to hold examinations and promote students, and if UGC refuses to recognise the degrees awarded without examination, it is the students who will face hardship,” Mehta told a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah.

Hearing a bunch of petitions filed by students with intervention from states, the bench said the states claimed that they had decided to cancel final year examinations under the power conferred on them by the Disaster Management Act. “You (UGC) apply your mind to the play of DM Act on holding of examinations and we will hear the matter on Friday,” it said.

The petitioners have challenged the UGC’s July 6 guidelines directing all universities to complete final year examinations for 2019-20 by September. The Delhi government in an affidavit informed the court that classes in all eight universities in the national capital were completely disrupted due to Covid-19 and the option of conducting online examination was mulled but was found unsuitable because many students were unable to access the internet.





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